Tech giants Google and Amazon have joined an online protest aiming to derail a bill that would roll back Obama-era net neutrality rules.
Bloomberg reports that tech giants Google and Amazon have joined Facebook, Twitter, and 70,000 other sites and organizations in an online protest aiming to prevent the passing of a bill that would roll back net neutrality rules brought in under the Obama administration. On Wednesday, the websites will tell users about the planned change to net neutrality rules and ask them to contact Congress and the Federal Communications Commission voicing their disapproval of the bill.
On Wednesday, Democratic senators Ron Wyden, of Oregon, and Brian Schatz, of Hawaii asked the FCC to ensure that their computer system would be capable of handling the surge of negative comments that they would receive about the roll back of these rules. The FCC has already received 5.6 million comments on the roll back, ahead of the deadline for remarks on July 17.
Evan Greer, the campaign director for Fight for the Future, a group that helped to organize the online protest said, “We’re trying to make it easier for real people to comment and make their voices heard. Ajit Pai [the FCC chairman] has made it clear he has no interest in listening to the public. He’s listening to the cable companies and plans to give them what they want.”
Protesters claim that if the net neutrality rules are rolled back, companies will have the ability to slow web traffic, block their rivals’ online content, censor unpopular viewpoints and charge extra fees for access to their services. However, supporters of the roll back believe that current net-neutrality rules give the government too much authority over private internet service providers, discourage investments needed to provide fast internet service to a wider range of people, and that a more competitive market will ensure that all treat traffic is treated fairly by internet service providers.
Berin Szoka, a founder of TechFreedom a group that supports the roll back of net neutrality rules stated that the protest is “not going to stop” the FCC. “Their entire agenda is simply to jump up and down at the FCC, and jump up and down on the Hill, and try to obstruct a legislative deal,” said Szoka.
Other organizations that oppose net neutrality agree. Free Our Internet says, “For the tech-left, the internet’s ability to empower individuals, uphold freedom of speech, and protect the diversity of ideas is a direct threat to their political power and control. Control the medium, and you control the message. By controlling the internet in all of its facets, they hope to be the gatekeepers of the political discourse and ideas that travel through it.”